10 Fun Facts about Rugby
Rugby to South Africans brings hope, passion and encouragement, it creates a spirit of community and brings a nation together. We as South Africans are extremely passionate about rugby. It has been so heart-warming seeing how involved the players have been in social outreach work during the pandemic. Most sports took a back seat during COVID-19 and have slowly but surely started making a comeback. And we are as excited as ever! We thought we would bring a bit lightheartedness by grouping some fun facts of rugby.
Let us have a look at some fun facts:
First South African inducted in the Rugby Hall of Fame
Danie Craven, who was known as Mr Rugby, was inducted to the Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007. He predominantly held the position of scrumhalf and his career spanned from 1931 to 1938. His rugby playing career was cut short due to World War 2 however he was appointed as national coach in 1949. He was instrumental in launching Craven Week in 1964. The 1st non-racial South African schoolboy competition that is till today still going strong.
Highest and lowest scoring rugby game
The highest score ever in a RWC match goes to New Zealand and Japan in 1995 in Bloemfontein. The All Blacks ran away with the game with a final score coming in at 145-17 which gives you an extraordinary total of 162 points.
In Belgium in 2015 the highest score ever was recorded between Royal Kituro vs Soignies (356 – 3). The score does seem unimaginable! However it was proven to be correct, the original referee never showed up for the match and some players from Soignies decided to leave. As a results when the game was eventually played the dwindling Soignies were still short on players.
They also carried out their own protest by just standing by and letting Royal Kitoru score due to the no show of the referee. Now that is a fun fact of rugby!
The lowest scoring rugby game ever was 0-0. However since Rugby Union became professional in 1995 there has never been a 0-0 score between fully professional national sides. The last 0 score was between Scotland vs New Zealand in 1964.
Fastest international Rugby player
At the current moment it seems that Ausie 7s star Trae Williams holds the record for fastest international rugby player to run 100m in 10.1 seconds. “Quadzilla” as he is called has made the change from a sprinter to a rugby player and made his debut at the 2019 Dubai Sevens Tournament.
By all means some other speedsters to keep in mind are Bryan Habana and Perry Baker. Habana famously ran alongside a Cheetah for charity in 2007 and the video is epic. Indeed, he is known as the king of speed and ran the 100m in under 10 seconds it is said. The race was held at the De Wildt research centre in South Africa to raise awareness of the dangers the Cheetah is currently facing.
Perry Baker has lit up the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series for a number of years and is seen as one of the fastest players with almost 200 tries under his belt. Even though he comes from an NFL background he tried rugby after an injury cut his career short. When he gets going, he is quite a sight to see.
Siya Kolisi voted most influential rugby personality of 2020
Rugby World Magazine pulls together 50 influential names in the sport every year and this year our dear Springbok Captain, Siya Kolisi, came out in the top spot. He is what role models are made of by giving inspiration and just being a human being. Siya and Rachel Kolisi started the Kolisi Foundation in 2020 (jump started a bit sooner than expected due to COVID-19) and have made a significant difference in so many communities. In an interview with CNN Siya said that helping the less fortunate is awfully close to his heart. He has experienced hunger and wants to make life just a bit easier for those that are in need. What a humble pair and it is inspiring to see that they are using their platform for such good and trying to make a positive change.
Tallest and shortest capped players
Richard Metcalfe is a former rugby union player who played for Scotland. Firtsly he is the world’s tallest international rugby player and secondly Metcalfe is 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m).
Fumiaki Tanaka is a scrum half who plays for Japan and has been the shortest player in the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups. At just 166 cm tall and weighing 72 kg, Tanaka may be one of the smallest rugby players in the world but a very fierce one. Most importantly, Tanaka has played a pivotal role in the success of the Japanese Team.
World Rugby’s Team of the decade has 3 Springboks appear in the team
We cannot be prouder to have 3 Springboks featured in the World Rugby Team of the decade, with so many exceptional players in the world this is an immensely proud moment for all. Tendai Mtawarira, also known as Beast, was selected for the front row with Bismarck du Plessis. And Bryan Habana was the third chosen Springbok in the team. When South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 2007 Habana and Bismarck were teammates, while all three these players were members of the Springboks’ when they beat the British & Irish Lions in the 2009 series. What a fun fact of rugby this is.
How did the Springboks get their name?
Our beloved Springbok team are known as the Bokke, Boks and Amabokoboko. In the run up to the RWC in ‘95 there was much controversy about keeping the Springbok emblem due to the apartheid era. It was agreed later that the Protea will be added to the jersey as this resembles some unity within sport in the country while the Springbok remains. Now how the name came about is a different story. When South Africa was to face the English team, the team’s first captain – Paul Roos – spontaneously chose the Springbok to prevent the British media from inventing a name for them.
Who is the leading international try scorer?
Daisuke Ohata from Japan is the leading try scorer in Rugby Union test matches with 69 tries under his belt in 58 caps which is impressive to say the least. He started his career playing in the Sevens Series and then moved into the national team. Furthermore in a close second it is our very own cheetah chasing Bryan Habana with 67 tries.
When it comes to the most tries scored in a Rugby World Cup there is an extraordinarily strong duo who share this achievement. The hard hitting and legendary Jonah Lomu from New Zealand and one of the best wingers ever Bryan Habana from South Africa.
Oldest and youngest international rugby player
Diego Ormaechea from Uruguay is the oldest player in Rugby World Cup history. Ormaechea was Uruguay’s captain at the time and is considered to be the best player in the country’s history. He was 40 when the tournaments started and retired at age 41 in 2001.
Mark Spencer ran out for Qatar in the 2012 HSBC Asian Five Nations Tournament against Uzbekistan. At the tender age of 57 he holds the record of being the oldest Test Rugby player. And believe it or not but this was his debut for the Middle Eastern state.
The Springboks became the first team to win the RWC after losing their opening match
The Springboks made history in 2019 by beating the English Roses in an epic final battle. They played with such grace and passion; they were unstoppable from the moment they ran out onto that field in Japan. One vision and one goal, which was achieved as a team. The Springboks are the only team to win the RWC after losing their opening game against New Zealand. This win has brought unity and hope to a country passionate about rugby and community.
Understandably there have been some changes in rugby. For example the Springboks being unable to play in the Rugby Championships in Australia in 2020. However, this has opened a new opportunity where the S.A rugby players are joining the Rainbow Cup in April 2021. It will be interesting to see which tournaments South Africa will end up playing in in the future. Bring on the Lions Tour 2021!
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